17/08/2012 10:43 | By Matt Farrington-Smith, editor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Twitter announces tough new rules for developers

Twitter is effectively warning developers not to create their own Twitter apps that compete with its service.

If you're a hardened Twitter user you may choose to use something other than Twitter's official app on your phone, or seek an alternative to sending Tweets through your browser.

Third-party Twitter app - Echofon. One of the apps that will be affected under new rules. Image Echofon

Echofon - one of the apps that will be affected under new rules.

Twitter has proposed changes to its API (application programming interface) that will limit the number of users of popular third-party Twitter clients. Under these new changes apps such as Tweetbot and Echofon will need to seek approval from Twitter if they want to support more than 100,000 users. If an app currently caters for more than 100,000, it will be allowed 200,000 people to use the service.

The creator of Instapaper - Marco Arment, expressed his thoughts in a blog post:

"I sure as hell wouldn't build a business on Twitter, and I don't think I'll even build any non-trivial features on it any more. And if I were in the Twitter-client business, I'd start working on another product."

Instapaper is a popular app that allows users to save interesting web pages for reading later.

Our right to free speech

A recent entry on the tech blog 'API Voice' read: "Twitter Continues to Restrict Access to Our Tweets" and goes on to talk about how Twitter's success can be attributed to its open access (via the web and mobile phones).

The blog entry ends with the damning (but thought-provoking) truth: "Twitter wraps itself in the rhetoric of free speech, but has done nothing but restrict the voice of the developer and everyone's access to our Tweets."

It's not just apps that will feel the pinch - if you've been using LinkedIn to update your employment history and look for openings, you may have noticed Tweets from colleagues appeared next to their profiles. But the stringent changes to Twitter's API have put an end to such syndication.

Do you agree with Twitter's stricter stance on your Tweets, and what effect do you think this will have on Twitter apps?

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